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« Iran's restive Arabs | Main | BBV vs Mother Jones »

Sep 23, 2006


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Britt Whitmire

Wait until you see Davenport's column tomorrow:

"Big-Ass Harris-Teeter Proves Bush Economic Plan is on a ROLL!"


Yikes. If it weren't so hip and viral, if newspapers across the country weren't also going the same route, and if JR weren't beating a path to this thread with a message of transparency to calm the criticism, this would be a real embarrassment.

The frightening thing is, we hardly notice any more - we're being marketed into complacency.

It's newsworthy and perhaps even front-pagey, but what's wrong with a good old-fashioned journalistic approach: "Developer announces opening of shopping complex", with a look at traffic and other issues sure to affect the community?


I meant to also say that Michelle did some nice research. Compared to what WFMY will do with it (anchors wearing party hats?), the article's not unreasonable given this market.


Ed said largify.

Geez, is everybody sleeping in? Is this thing on?

Ed Cone

Michelle did do some nice research, and thanks for pointing that out. The body of the story is fine, but the set-up and packaging are problematic.

I said largify because Wharton was not completely satisified with my previous use of embiggen.

David Wharton

And I thank you for saying it!

I would love to see a review of the Shops at Friendly from a design standpoint, with comparisons to lifestyle centers other than Southpoint: pedestrian connectivity, architecture, etc.

Ed Cone

I'd love to see such a review, too, DW.

If only Greensboro had a blogger who did such things...even one on hiatus, who could come back for special appearance...

John Robinson

You're right, the headline goes too far. And perhaps the story is a little breathless, but it doesn't cross the line into hype, in my opinion, particularly given the interest in the place.

It's a little difficult to talk about many community issues such as traffic -- other than the effect on other shopping centers -- until it opens.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Chewie, you're spot on about being marketed into complacency. However, "what's wrong?" with "Developer announces opening shopping complex" as a news headline is this: it is just a press release disguised as news . . . and we've been subjected to that down here in Asheboro for years (by one of the N&R's competitors). The newspaper winds up selling out its news department to the highest bidder. The wink & nod routine rules.

I don't really care for ads on the front page, but I think running the ads (which must be very expensive) is marginally more honest than what you suggest.

Jeffrey Sykes

I very much miss David Wharton's blog.

Ed Cone

Chewie's suggestion is not to run a press release, but to run a news article about the opening of a major new retail center.

There is a real news story here, with implications for business, traffic, civic image, economic development, quality of life, etc, and today's article had much actual news content in it...the problem comes in the boosterish presentation and packaging.

David Wharton

Thanks, Jeffrey, and thanks EC.

I miss blogging, too.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Pushing back (again) Ed, but Chewie's suggestion (however well intended) amounts EXACTLY to crafting a news story around a press release. Honestly, you could work for the Chamber of Commerce in Asheboro. Nothing gets into the Courier Tribune unless it's been cleared by the "economic development" gurus.

News IS retail. Retail IS hype. It's the world we live in.

Ed Cone

I think you are misreading Chewie's intention, Mary.

The news story does not have to be crafted around a press release, it can and should be independently reported. The number and nature of the stores, employment figures, economic impact, effect on other shopping areas, etc -- all are actual news.

You could take much of today's article, slap a more neutral headline on it, kill the marketing prose above the pic, cut the whole package down to a quarter-page, and I would have no problem at all with it.

Dr. Mary Johnson

Ed, I am not misreading Chewie's intention. I am offering my opinion of what she offered . . . based on the type of journalism we in Asheboro have been forced-fed for years. Business rules.

And when you talk about (1) changing a front-page headline to make it more "neutral", (2) killing the marketing prose about the pic, and (3) cutting the "package", you're not talking about news . . . you're talking about a product.

Samuel Spagnola, hereinafter "Spags" thanks to Clarey

This should not be front page "news" either.

Ed Cone

Mary, if you are saying that the opening of a large new retail center is not a legitimate news story for a newspaper, then we disagree about what constitutes a legitimate news story.

diane davis

What's the big deal?

Why didn't we hear this outrage about the N&R hype about Horizon Park?

Isn't it a commercial project?

Is a commercial sports venue more important than a shopping venue?

I would answer my own questions; but, I truly don't know the answers.

Ed Cone

Diane, I have found some of the baseball coverage to be boosterish, too. Again, there are legit stories to be told about the stadium, fans, economic impact, human interest, etc., it's how they are done, and perhaps how often.

But this was the story they ran today, and it struck me (and apparently others) as off-key.

I don't stop to say, "gee, have I commented on every similar or related item in the past?" before posting on something that catches my eye.

Dr. Mary Johnson

I'm not "outraged" Diane (and yes, Ed, we disagree - often - about what constitutes "news").

The sad thing is (living where I do) journalism is ALL about hype (and what a few think is economically best for the many). It's easy to spot and almost (but not quite) funny. What was it Chewie said? "Marketed into complacency." Bingo.

There seems to be nothing to do for it when the news and the market openly mix. At least the N&R is honest about that.


Interesting reading---

I don't see the big deal anymore than the sports section.

This front page helps Greensboro's image and supports local development. We have been riding by for months wanting to know the details.

My preference is to see this over some of the pieces that made front page.

...my vote...good job N&R

Now if JR wants to say that there was compensation...now that would be different.

Dr. Mary Johnson

The "compensation" is in the advertising revenue that pays the bills, meblogin. Again, given my own experience, I simply do not believe that our "local" newspapers truly look objectively at the big fish with whom they do business (on the other hand, guppies don't matter) - be they retail centers or hospitals.

When the (bad) news comes for the advertiser, there is often a hesitancy . . . and a kinder and gentler slant on the reporting of it.


The huge front page ad in today's Chapel Hill News has finally put me over the edge. If the paper wasn't starting to suck so much, I wouldn't be so pissed.
I do not have the same reaction when I see ads on the front of the Times or the Wall Street Journal. I'm just not worried that they're becoming shoppers.
So, I broke a long-running silence about the direction of my old paper.

Jim Caserta

My wife and I went by the new shops @ friendly, and she was very excited by it. She prefers the "old" friendly center over Hanes mall by us, and good shopping is something she (we) thinks about when considering places to move/settle. She put in her request for a Coach store though.

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